Host Family FAQ

Thinking about becoming a host family for an international exchange student? Read some of the most frequently asked questions about hosting here.

According to the United States Department of State, all host families must be volunteers and are not eligible for payment. In many cases, families are eligible for a tax deduction of $50 per month in exchange for hosting. The real reward is the memories and friendships you allow your family, community, and international student to experience.

Exchange students are 15-18 years old when they enter the U.S and come from over 40 countries around the world. Our representatives do our best to match families with students that are most closely aligned with their hobbies and interests. Students are interviewed prior to acceptance and are screened on positive demeanor, language proficiency, eagerness to learn about American culture, and academic performance.

Yes. It is required that all students must be able to speak English and are screened for proficiency prior to their acceptance into the program.

Because the goal of this program is a full immersion not only into American culture but also into their American family, exchange students are expected to adapt to their host family’s lifestyle. Students respect family rules, chores, and guidelines and in return only ask to be treated like a member of the family.

Exchange students cover their own travel expenses and arrive fully-insured with their own spending money as mandated by our program rules. This money covers things like extracurricular activities, phone bills, clothing, school lunches, recreation, etc. Host families are required to provide exchange students with a bedroom and place to study and be financially secure enough to comfortably host a teenager in their home. The U.S. Department of State also designates certain requirements of all host families. To find out if your family is eligible, contact your local representative today.

Each and every ISE host family is assigned a personal representative that can assist with any issues you may experience throughout your program and offer helpful advice and guidance along the way. In the event of a misunderstanding, families and students have access to a support network made up of your representative, local office staff, and 24-7 support team located at our central office. If the issue cannot be resolved through our expert support staff, a new placement for the student will be arranged.

If you can’t host but want to promote cooperation, understanding, and friendship in your local community, you can become an Area Representative. Our representatives help us recruit and support our volunteers and students. In addition to making their communities a more welcoming and interesting place, Area representatives receive generous bonus payments for each successful placement and can also earn all-expense paid international travel opportunities.

Follow one of our foreign exchange students and her American host family as they give us a glimpse into what our cultural exchange program is all about.